The Strategist

Chilcot: the UK had no reasons to invade Iraq

07/06/2016 - 15:48

A lengthy report, dedicated to investigation of the UK’s participation as a US ally in the Iraq war in 2003-2009, has been published today, reports Bloomberg. Experts have concluded that Cabinet of then-Prime Minister Tony Blair took wrong decision on participation in military operations in Iraq. There was gross underestimation of the operation’s scale due to incomplete intelligence in conditions when a nonviolent solution could still have been found.

Matthew M. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps,
Matthew M. Smith, U.S. Marine Corps,
In addition, writes The New York Times, the document contains a reference to the fact that in 2002, Blair pledged unconditional support for US President George W. Bush in advance. Later, during the operation, he followed the overseas partner’s policy to the detriment of the UN Security Council. "The report is likely to consolidate an opinion prevailing in the UK. It is often said that Blair was a "pocket dog" of Washington - a comparison once widely used to criticize the Prime Minister", - said the NYT.

Tony Blair has already commented that the report frees him from suspicion of malicious fraud and misinterpretation of intelligence. "Regardless of attitude to a decision on military action against Saddam Hussein, I thought that I was pursuing the UK’s benefit." Nevertheless, Blair acknowledged validity of charges in vicious operations planning and dubious relations with the US. "I'll take responsibility for all the mistakes, without any exceptions and excuses... However, I reserve the right to defend my position, which consists in the fact that Hussein had to be removed and that his overthrow was not the reason for the world terrorism’s growth", - said Blair.  

Within seven years, the Iraq Inquiry Commission, headed by Sir John Chilcot, has studied validity of the Prime Laborer Tony Blair and his ministers. Factually, they had drawn the UK in a long-term war. The report reveals almost nothing new, writes the NYT. However, the document is still very important as it elucidates flaws of decision-making process in the UK. "It is clear that the policy in relation to Iraq was based on incorrect information and its misinterpretation. It was not subjected to independent evaluation, but had to be" - Chilcot said. "At no stage was seen or hypothesized a probability that Iraq did not have chemical, biological and nuclear weapons or programs on its creation ", - the report says.

Prime Minister David Cameron said that next week, the UK Parliament will hold a two-day discussion of the investigation’s results. Cameron stressed that the government has given the Commission access to all documents, and the investigation was completely independent.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said recently that former Prime Minister Blair can be held accountable if the investigation confirms his guilt for war crimes. Politicians proposed to ban him from ever holding a public office. The Guardian reported that Blair could in theory go to jail, but noted that most likely, nature of his punishment would be symbolic.

The commission's report should have been released back in 2010, but publication was delayed several times. Chilcot explained the extended deadline by political and practical reasons.

"The investigation’s volume is unprecedented. We are studying a single incident and its consequences, we are looking over decisions taken in the nine-year period, and what followed them. Timing of the investigation was set incorrectly "- said Chilcot in Parliament. According to him, the committee has studied more than 150,000 official documents and interviewed 150 witnesses.

October 25, 2015 Tony Blair in an interview with CNN television admitted that the Iraq invasion committed by the US military and its allies in 2003 was one of the main reasons for emergence of "Islamic State" terrorist organization.

At the same time, Blair apologized for mistakes made in the war. "I apologize for the fact that the intelligence was wrong. I am also sorry, by the way, for some errors in planning and, of course, for our mistakes in understanding of what would happen after we changed the regime", - said Blair.